Friday, January 25, 2008

Lawmakers Returns Monday

Lawmakers will not be seen tonight because the legislature is not in session. Join us at 7 PM on Monday, January 28 when the Georgia General Assembly convenes for the sixth legislative day.

In case you're wondering how to find out when a new episode of Lawmakers will be produced, we wanted to explain our schedule. Lawmakers is broadcast every night at 7 PM on Georgia Public Broadcasting when the Georgia General Assembly is in session.

The Georgia General Assembly meets for no more than 40 legislative days each spring. The session commences on the second Monday after the first Tuesday in January. The legislature does not necessarily meet on consecutive days and the session often extends through March and well into April. The House and Senate set their schedule by Resolution, so, we at Lawmakers are often unaware of what the schedule will be until the Resolution is brought to the floor in one of the chambers for a vote.

At this point, we know that the General Assembly will convene for the 6th legislative day on Monday, January 28 and we assume that they will be in session every day next week, but there is no way to know until a Resolution is passed. When a Resolution is passed, it generally sets the schedule for up to two weeks at a time. Thus far in this session there has been only one Resolution relative to adjournment, HR 1021.

We will continue to update the schedule here on our blog when a new resolution is passed by both chambers!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Budget Day 3- January 24, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson has harsh words for the Grady Board, legislators hold a rally in support of public funding for Grady, Rep. Jan Jones announces the findings of a survey on charter schools, and the Joint Appropriations Committee wraps up the third and final day of Budget Briefings.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson addressed a luncheon of the Commerce Club of Atlanta today. Richardson told the crowd that for the state to come through with public funding for cash-strapped Grady Hospital, the hospital must appoint a non-profit board to oversee the funds. Yesterday Sen. Vincent Fort and the Grady Coalition held a rally to advocate for public funding for Grady.

Rep. Jan Jones held a press conference today to announce findings from a survey on charter schools. Rep. Jones says the survey shows most Georgians are dissatisfied with the current public school system, and support efforts to change. Rep. Jones is sponsor of House Bill 881, which would create a state commission that along with local school systems could approve a charter school. HB 881 passed unanimously out of subcommittee and is now up before the entire House Education Committee.

The Joint Appropriations Committee wrapped up its final day of Budget Hearings today. Among those state departments before the committee today were Human Resources, Community Healthy, Corrections, and Juvenile Justice. Dept. of Corrections Commissioner James Donald told the committee that he supports Day Reporting Centers as an alternative to prisons for drug offenders.

Watch Lawmakers tonight at 7PM online or on GPB television. This episode of Lawmakers repeats tomorrow morning at 5:30AM on GPB TV.

Watch Budget Briefings Online

This week under the gold dome, the House-Senate Joint Appropriations Committee meets for their final day of Budget Briefings to hear budget requests from certain Agency heads.
Scheduled to speak to the committee today, Thursday, January 24 are:


B.J. Walker, Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources


Dr. Rhonda Medows, Commissioner of the Department of Community Health

James Donald, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections

Albert Murray, Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice

Trey Childress, Director of the Office of Planning and Budget

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Budget Day 2- January 23, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, Budget Briefings continue before the Joint Appropriations Committee, a Senate committee conducts hearings on Brain Fingerprinting, and the Grady Coalition holds a press conference.

Heads of the University System of Georgia, the Departments of Education, Technical and Adult Education, and Transportation testified today before the Joint Appropriations Committee. University System Chancellor Erroll Davis fielded questions from the committee about the shortage of physicians in Georgia. It is estimated that 50 percent of doctors educated in Georgia move their careers to other states. State School Superintendent Kathy Cox said that funding for Georgia’s public schools is not meeting the requirement set forth in the current funding formula. Representatives from the Superior Courts, the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council and the Court of Appeals also testified.

The Senate Brain Fingerprinting Study Committee held hearings today. Creators of a new technology that may prove useful in law enforcement demonstrate the “brain fingerprinting” before the study committee. Lawmakers’ Minoo Hosseini has more.

Rep. Joe Heckstall and Sen. Vincent Fort held a press conference today to call for state funding for Grady Hospital, Georgia’s largest public hospital. More on that story in tomorrow’s Lawmakers broadcast.

Watch Lawmakers tonight at 7PM online or on GPB television. This episode of Lawmakers repeats tomorrow morning at 5:30AM on GPB TV.

Watch Budget Briefings Online

This week under the gold dome, the House-Senate Joint Appropriations Committee meets Tuesday through Thursday to hear budget requests from Governor Sonny Perdue and Agency heads. The Governor's fiscal year 2009 budget recommendations total $19.3 billion, up from $18.3 billion in FY 08. Available revenues however, show the State has an estimated $21.4 billion available to spend in FY 09.

Scheduled to address the committee today are:

10:00am Chancellor Erroll Davis of the University System of Georgia

11:00am State School Superintendent Kathy Cox

1:30pm Ron Jackson
Interim Commissioner of the Department of Technical and Edult Education

2:30pm Commissioner Gena Abraham
Department of Transportation

3:30pm Superior Courts
Arch W. McGarity, President of Council of Superior Court Judges
District Attorneys
Tommy Floyd, District Attorney, Flint Judicial Circuit
President, Prosecuting Attorneys' Council
Court of Appeals
Chief Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Budget Day 1- January 22, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, Governor Sonny Perdue kicks off the first day of Budget Briefings by reviewing his 2008 agenda, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks at a Pro-Life rally on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, state department heads testify before the House Appropriations Committee, and legislators discuss a possible Delta merger.

Governor Perdue began the Budget Briefings today by addressing the Joint Appropriations Committee. The Governor reiterated many of the points he made in his State of the State address last week, including highlighting the need for a Statewide Water Plan and transportation improvement.

The 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, was marked by both pro- and anti-abortion events near the Capitol. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke at the anti-abortion rally in support of a state constitutional amendment to ban abortion.

State department heads testified today before the Joint Appropriations Committee. Following Governor Perdue’s opening remarks Kenneth Heaghney, the State Fiscal Economist, gave an outlook on the 2008 and 2009 budgets. Noel Holcomb, Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, spoke to concerns of water shortage in the state. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Colonel Bill Hitchins addressed challenges in recruiting new State Troopers. And Brad Douglas, Director of the Department of Administrative Services, made an unscheduled appearance before the committee to answer questions about unauthorized spending on state purchasing cards.

Legislators held a press conference today to discuss the possibility of Atlanta-based Delta Airlines merging with one of its competitors. Sen. Judson Hill says he is optimistic about the possible merger. Delta employs about 26,000 people in the Metro Atlanta area; it is not known how a potential merger will affect these jobs.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers. Watch Online! Just click here.